In this rather slow week between what was a
very engaging series against the Irish - even if for the wrong reasons - and
getting back into Super Rugby, a week in which no one seems to give a toss
about anything rugby related, I find myself pondering three things...
1 - Why should a team hand over possession because
a player is simply held up in the tackle? It’s hardly a skill, seems to be
leading to more injuries and is just slowing down the ball.
2 - How do we up our general rugby IQ so
players think not only about their position, but the team and game in general?
The Irish made much better general rugby decisions than the Boks. Coaching
plays a huge role and I wonder if we are developing enough coaches who are good
enough not only to coach, but question existing methods with a view to
developing new ones?
3 - Prior to the June internationals I
called the then uncapped Steven Kitshoff’s selection “weird”,
but now also wonder if, in actually playing him in PE, Coetzee has perhaps
opened a Pandora's box of sorts?
That he was deserving of his selection is
not in doubt. In his meagre 24 minutes he made 2 carries, 10 tackles and
totally destroyed the Irish scrum. Much like Faf de Klerk, it looked like he
was born to play for the Boks.
But given our clear and obvious
transformation goals, with Beast Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane as established
and competent Springbok loosehead props Lizo Gqoboka on the rise having played
for the SA ‘A’ side, and the likes of Allister Vermaak, Ox Nche and Nqobisizwe Mxoli
waiting in the wings, why introduce an uncapped white player from France?
Sure it was about getting him capped and
thus unable to play for another country, but that would have come with
commitments to future selections and game time.
Given how well he performed on Saturday,
has Coetzee not just made his life a whole lot more complicated?
Please let it not be at the expense of
having a specialist tighthead prop on the bench. Julian Redelinghuys has now
proven his value to the Bok cause and it is hugely comforting having a real
tighthead as not only back-up to Frans Malherbe, but pushing him for a start. This
with Lourens Adriaanse, Vincent Koch and Marcel van der Merwe at the ready.
In modern day 23 man squads there is absolutely
no need for the “swinger” prop who can play both sides – a necessity in 22 man
squads which only had space for one prop on the bench. As such, moving on from
the Coenie Oosthuizen experiment that previous coach Heyneke Meyer obsessed
with, is one of the excellent calls Coetzee has made.
But with Coetzee hinting at using Nyakane -
who does spend some time at tighthead for the Bulls - in a swinger type role for
the Boks at a Cape Town press conference ahead of the Newlands Test, I fear
this to be a temporary decision.
Enter Coenie 2.0 in order to accommodate
Kitshoff. Is it worth it?
Tank Lanning is a former Western Province prop and vociferous tweeter from @frontrowgrunt.Disclaimer:
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